Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?

Photo by Garry Knight | CC BY 2.0

To state the obvious: two weeks can be a long time in western electoral politics.

The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn has been gaining steadily in the opinion polls, despite a massive media campaign to undermine him, extending from the BBC and the supposedly “liberal” Guardian to the UK’s famously ghastly tabloids. When Theresa May called the election, Labour was 20 or more points behind the Conservatives, but this figure was down to as little as 5 points in some polls conducted before the Manchester bombing atrocity occurred.

The policies put forward in Labour’s manifesto are popular (especially when they are not identified as Labour’s!), Corbyn has been an effective campaigner, but Labour has also been aided by a woefully inept Tory campaign.  The Tory spin doctors and election strategists somehow convinced themselves that the largely untried Theresa May was their trump card, so much so that only her name (accompanied by the vacuous slogan “strong and stable”), and not her party affiliation, featured on their election propaganda.

While the hunch behind this decision of the election strategists was probably the marketing of May as a Thatcher Mark II, she has been a disaster so far.  A stodgy performer in debate, famously unable to think on her feet, May refused to take part in televised debates.  Her few attempts at “connecting with the public” have seen the wheels come off the proverbial car.

She scuttled off rapidly when booed on a visit to a social-housing estate in Bristol– people living in social housing have been under an unrelenting cosh since Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, and only someone in a fantasy conjured-up by Lewis Carroll would envisage a Tory leader being greeted with warmth and affection on a visit to such an estate.  Someone on May’s support team needs to be sent forthwith to a dungeon in the Tower of London for this Carrollian mishap.

Another walk-about in Abingdon (Oxfordshire), potentially less hostile territory, saw May confronted by a voter with learning disabilities visibly upset at having her disability benefit cut by the Tories.  The easily flustered May, seemingly unable to distinguish between learning disabilities and mental health issues, sought desperately to reassure the distressed voter that the Tories had a bunch of new initiatives on the latter.  The massed TV cameras recorded the entire episode, and May became an immediate object of derision.  She retired to her bunker at Tory HQ, and has not been seen in public since.

May’s two one-on-one television interviews have likewise been a disaster.  UK TV interviewers, even those not known for their leftist inclinations, are a much less calmative bunch than their American counterparts (the Orange Swindler would not last 60 seconds with the routinely ill-disposed and aggressive Jeremy Paxman), and May suffered her predictable meltdown.  The sight of her waffling and prevaricating when interviewed by Andrew Marr and Andrew Neil while trying to pull-out her “strong and steady” soundbite as often as possible, was utterly delicious to behold.

So, what’s next for the maladroit May?  TV debates are out, and so it would seem are walk-abouts and one-on-one interviews.  The halt to campaigning observed by all parties after the Manchester carnage has given her some breathing space, but it is hard to see what can be improvised by her handlers.

Theresa May apart, the Tory manifesto has also been a hostage to misfortune.  A grab-bag of vague promises and uncosted policies, it soon suffered from media scrutiny.  The manifesto, and the accompanying vapid sloganeering, are thinly disguised attempts to deflect attention from the one big issue the Tories can’t campaign on and must therefore keep out of public view, namely, the cruel and irresponsible austerity policy they have pursued since 2010.  In parliament, May has voted for every legislative item underpinning this policy, despite touting herself as a “compassionate Conservative”.  Here in the manifesto we are told: “We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality”.  They could have fooled me, and perhaps this was the Tory intention.

Paraded as “fiscal prudence”, Tory austerity has been quite the opposite.

The UK economy has grown since 2010, but, according to the Guardian, 7.4 million Brits, among them 2.6 million children, live in poverty despite being from working families (amounting to 55% of these deemed poor) – an increase of 1.1 million since 2010-2011 (i.e. the first year of austerity).

The report discussed by the Guardian, produced by the reputable Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), shows that the number living below the Minimum Income Standard – the earnings, defined by the public, required for a decent standard of living – rose from 15 million to 19 million between 2008/9 and 2014/5.  The UK’s population is 65 million.

These 19 million people, or just under 1/3rd of the UK’s population, are its “just about managing” families (JAMs).

An important contributory factor in these shifts, the JRF said, was the increased number of people living in basically unaffordable private rental properties, with the number of people in poverty in private rentals doubling in a decade to 4.5 million.

“Failures in the housing market are a significant driver of poverty,” the JRF study said. “This is primarily, but not entirely, due to costs.”

The number of rental evictions has risen by 60% over 5 years to 37,000 annually.   Over the same period mortgage repossessions have fallen from 23,000 to 3,300.

According to an article by Frances Ryan in the Guardian:

For a government to cut in-work social security, reduce child tax credits and freeze working-age benefits in this climate is the equivalent of knowingly removing the life rafts from the millions of citizens who are struggling to stay afloat. Drowning comes in many forms: perhaps eviction notices or hungry children. The Children’s Society says that by 2020, when all the new tax and benefits changes will have been implemented, low-income families making a new claim for support could be up to £9,000 worse off a year. The government’s four-year freeze on working age benefits alone will make four million families poorer.

Social care has become increasingly unaffordable for these struggling families, the NHS is starting to charge for treatment as it undergoes a stealth privatization, they have fewer opportunities for upskilling in order to raise their incomes, and so on.  This while their wages are stagnant even as the cost of living is increasing for them.

“Austerity” always was a hoax attempting to magic the banking-induced crisis of 2007-2009 into a crisis of the welfare system.

It has nothing to do with the “deficit”— if it did, Cameron and Osborne would have serious steps to reduce the “deficit”, instead they chose policies that increased it.

And indeed, UK public sector debt has risen since 2010–  according to the Office of National Statistics, from 60% of GDP in January 2010 to 85.3% in January 2017.

The Tories and their banker pals are determined to make ordinary UK citizens pay for the bankers’ mistakes with reduced wages and pensions, reduced health care, reduced education opportunities, reduced real employment (job “growth” is largely confined to “bullshit” jobs or McJobs), and reduced social services.

Their public position is that ordinary UK citizens are “living beyond their means”, thereby using this as a subterfuge to get the ordinary citizen to pay for the bankers’ fecklessness and criminality.

So far, no politician from any party has stood up and said it is the stock-portfolio class, and not ordinary Ukanians, who live beyond the Ukay’s means!

With the ideological dragooning supplied in endless doses by the rightwing tabloids, the “slackers” and “scroungers” always seem to be the not so well-off or totally indigent, as opposed to predatory bankers and avaricious landlords.  The former tend not to vote under the present electoral system because nothing really changes for them come election-time, while the latter make a point of donating generously to the Tories in order to safeguard their gravy trains.

Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina.  He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.

More articles by:

NATO at war and other statistical marvels

NATO at war and other statistical marvels

by Scott Humor

NATO Parliamentary Assembly Spring Session, Tbilisi, 26-29 May 2017

“The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi is a historic and a strategic place in the Caucasus region, which gave the country an opportunity to be a connecting hub between the West and the East

Unfortunately, our progress is not a pleasant development in the region for some, like the Russian Federation. Moscow has militarily violated Georgia’s territorial sovereignty and has illegally occupied the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russian military aggression and its provocations in various forms towards its neighbours have become routine by the Kremlin. Economic sanctions by the European Union and its partners are imperative to slow down this aggression, but more needs to be done. Therefore, it is crucial that we have a visible progress on both the practical and political side of Georgia’s EU and NATO membership process.

Furthermore, we highly value the Allies’ commitment to ensure effective implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, as well as new initiatives of practical cooperation. We welcome the decision made at the Warsaw Summit to increase NATO’s presence in the Black Sea region and at the same time to further strengthen cooperation with Georgia.

Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance contains all the practical tools to prepare our country for eventual membership. As the Bucharest Summit Declaration states: Georgia will become a member of NATO.”

It’s truly haunting how NATO uses a blunt lie going on record, even so we can just take one look at the online records of the UN Security Council and read that it Georgia initiated the war on 08.08.08.

Security Council hears conflicting Russian, Georgian views of worsening crisis as members seek end to violence in day’s second meeting on South Ossetia

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said Georgia continued its treacherous attack on South Ossetia, despite the Russian leadership’s appeal for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the fratricidal conflict and the resumption of talks.  The Russian Federation abhorred the connivance of a number of Security Council members, who last night had blocked passage of the Russian assessment of the situation.  The aggression being perpetrated was in violation of the United Nations Charter on the non-use of force, the 1996 agreement signed by Georgia, the South Ossetia parties and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the 1992 basic agreement between the Russian Federation and Georgia on the principles for settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.  That agreement obliged the belligerents to undertake measures to halt military confrontation, to cease fire and to withdraw armed units.  A demilitarized zone had been created under the accord and the 1996 memorandum of understanding, compelling parties to the conflict to renounce the use or threat of use of force, had been signed by the High Representative of Georgia and the OSCE representative.  More here

United Nations Security Council Resolution 896 of 1994

 

On April 1st this year, William Lahue, NATO liaison officer in South Caucasus stated that NATO will not fight with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, if Georgia joins the alliance.

This statement is bizarre and deceiving considering that right now NATO is in active state of war with Russia according to its website:

NATO – Topic: Collective defence – Article 5

www.nato.int/cps/cn/natohq/topics_110496.htm

Mar 22, 2017

  • NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, for instance in response to the situation in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
  • NATO has standing forces on active duty

So, NATO has already invoked the Article 5 Collective defense treaty and is in a state of active war on Russia.

This current land grab is similar to what the fascist Europe was doing right before they started a war on the Soviet Russia in 1941.

Needless to say that Georgia joining NATO is against NATO’s own rules pertinent to  countries with territorial disputes. Since NATO is ready to deploy its army to Georgian territory, it means that the NATO has suspended its rules, which is another indicator that the NATO members are currently in active state of war against Russia.

—-

For those our readers who collect psi-ops and false flag attacks, here is the strategy that is been used repeatedly to draw Russia into the armed conflict on its borders.

A government of one  of the republics starts terribly abusing a part of population living under its rule. This population rebels and demands autonomy, propelling the government’s brutally attacks by punitive forces. The population under the attack fighting back and holds a referendum for independence. The government uses the regular army to attack the population, which asks Russia for help.

Thus in November 2006, a popular referendum was held in South Ossetia to reaffirm its independence from Georgia.  Ninety-nine percent of voters supported the referendum. After two years of punitive actions, Saakashvili, the US appointed puppet, initiated the war by attacking civilian population and the Russian peacekeepers. Putin as a prime minister was away visiting China, so President Medevedev and its liberal parliament respond with the use of the military force.

In 2914, when NATO members played the same situation in Ukraine like a piano, an “international community” fully expected Russia to do as she did in 2008. But with Putin as a president it didn’t work out for them.

————-

A country with 77% of its population with missing teeth is looking for financial support.

Latvian MP and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jānis Jurkāns gave an interview to the newspaper Neatkarīgā on May 15 of this year. He said that a war on Russia is expected to start any minute, and that’s why Latvian government doesn’t invest anything into the country’s development. It’s all going to be destroyed any way.  “What’s not stolen, will be crashed by the Russian tanks.”

Reportedly he also said that soon Russia will be completely destroyed, and only then a real economic revival in Latvia will take place.

In conclusion he said, that when, in the future, Russia will be crushed into pieces, they as victims will receive huge amount of money to build the brand new Latvia. That is why they are removing what’s left of the country’s wealth and creating in Ireland a base for a government in exile.

——

What actually are the Trump’s deals with the Saudi Arabia?

Looking at the list of deals that the US managed to achieve with the SA, most of them being just pledges and promises.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon express a desire to establish Raytheon Arabia sometime in the future. General Dynamics will do some design, and support some of its vehicles locally. Let me guess, the locals will be allowed to design and manufacture some stickers in Arabic. General Electrics signed MoU, Honeywell International signed a MoU, McDermott International also signed an MoU. Boeing and SaudiGulf Airlines promised to start negotiations of jet purchases. Saudi Aramco updates MoU. Jacobs Engineering Group, Rowan, Saudi Aramco, Nabors, Weatherford International all signed MOUs.

Similar to a contract, a memorandum of understanding is an agreement between two or more parties. Unlike a contract, however, an MoU need not contain legally enforceable promises. While the parties to a contract must intend to create a legally binding agreement, the parties to an MOU may intend otherwise

Not one actually legally binding contract was signed.

==============

In April, industrial production in Ukraine decreased by 6.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

From January to April of 2017 industrial production fell by 2%.

Industrial production is falling for the third month in a row. The main factor of the collapse of metallurgical industry that in April 2017 has reduced steel production by 28.6% compared to April of 2016, to 1,572 million tons.

The export of steel is the main source of foreign income for the country.

With the disappearance of metallurgy, Ukraine will finally become an agricultural powerhouse producing only wheat and corn; since the value added in agriculture is not high and considering the dependency on foreign (Russian) fertilizers, the country won’t be able to sustain its population for much longer.

Despite this, GDP is growing. The gross domestic product of Ukraine for the first quarter increased by 3 percent according to the national Bank of Ukraine.

Industrial production fell, exports fell. The GDP is growing

The explanation is simple.

The price of steel has risen over the past year with $220 per ton of steel to $320, and even it has already dropped to $275; still the Ukraine is in the black, especially compared with the middle of 2016, when steel cost $115 per ton.

====================================

Green Spring of 2017

Russia’s economy grew in April 2017 compared to the same period of 2016.

Most the basic economic and social indicators went up with GDP rising to 100.5% of last year’s value.

Total agricultural output grew 100.6%. Industrial Production Index grew 102.3%. The volume of transported cargo grew by 109.4%. Retail trade numbers have not changed at 100% of April 2016. Combined foreign trade grew by 129.8%, with the export growing by 135.2% and import growing by 121.8%. Capital investments grew by 102.3%. Absolute income and real-wage growth grew by 106.7%, however real income fell to 92.4%. Since the inflation went down, this could be a result of the drop in real estate and rental prices. Unemployment rate fell to 5.3%. Officially registered as unemployed are 0.9 million people. In total 4 million people are unemployed.

With unemployment going down, wages grew +3.2% by March of 2017 year to year.

Real wages in Russia

Real Income In Russia

With all major indexes in green, the only unexplained drop is in real income which is down for March by significant -7.6%. Considering that at the beginning of the year the same indicator grew almost 7%, this number will probably be revised. However, it still might remain negative.

On May 14, during the meeting with President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman, the following was said:

Vladimir Putin: In the economic sector, despite the previous years’ recession, trade turnover growth of over 44 percent was observed in the beginning of this year. This is a good sign and a good trend we have to preserve.

Milos Zeman: The number of tourists is growing – this is very positive.

Vladimir Putin: This is connected to the gradual restoration of personal incomes, which shrank during the crisis in our country. Today, actual earnings of our citizens have started to gradually increase, and tourist activity is increasing as well.

It’s also interesting how the government handled the crisis of 2008-2009 and crisis of 2014-2016. During the first crisis, the minimum wage went up, but unemployment and bankruptcies also grew. It took two years to recover to the pre-crisis level. In December 18, 2014, president Putin said that the crisis in Russia will last for two years in the worst case. Understanding that this might be the long-term situation, the government did everything to preserve the workplaces by letting wages to drop. Putin has managed to save work places, industries and manufacturers from repeating a terrible collapse of 2009 that Medvedev’s government allowed. Considering that everything stayed and worked, the recovery is ongoing, and it won’t need two years.

In February of this year, an aftershock contributor posted his overview of the economy using other indicators than unreliable GPD and came to the conclusion that Russia’s economy is number 4 in the world.

He started with asking a simple question: how can Russia afford the space exploration and nuclear energy, that are out of reach for the majority of developed and rich countries? In addition to the enormous infrastructure costs, these industries require a high level of development of education, basic science, applied science and multiple industries. When we witness another successful launch of missiles “YARS” and the start of commercial operation of the BN nuclear reactors, a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor, most people don’t understand that these facts are only the visible tip of the iceberg of a great country.

—–

In November 2016 one of UK’s  fake news sources called The Telegraph reporting on the alcohol consumption in the world and lied about Russia being number four of the alcohol dependent countries, and the Britain being 25th overall. “On average we each consume 11.6 litres of pure alcohol a year.”

Now let’s look at real numbers presented by the Russia’s Health Ministry.

Alcohol consumption in Russia in liters of pure spirit in 2016 was 10.3 liters per person. However, this is actual numbers of official sales and doesn’t include homemade wines traditionally enjoyed in the South of the country. I couldn’t find a reliable statistic of alcohol consumption based on gender, race, and age, but as an anecdotal evidence of generational differences, my parents have some wine or cognac for dinner almost every day, although they don’t drink vodka or beer. On average, I consume one glass of wine per year. I just don’t understand an appeal of alcohol.

 

============

Links to report of the Russia’s Health ministry statistic will take you to a downloadable PDF file with multiple fascinating charts:

In 2016 the death rate in Russia has been at its lowest since 1995 12.9 per 1000 of population.

Life expectancy has been also the highest since 1995 and reaches 77.1 for women, 66.5 for men, with an average 71.9 for both genders.

In 2016 Maternal Mortality Rate was 8.3 per 100,000 live births. It actually dropped 48.8% compared to 2011, and 17.8% compared to 2015.

In 2012 Russia adopted the international standards for Infant Mortality Rate statistic starting with 500g or 22 weeks. In 2012 there were 6 infant death per 1000 live birth.

Cardio related death rate dropped down to 42.2 per 100,000 population, which is 7.3% less than in 2011.

Stroke and high-blood pressure related death dropped down to 85.6 per 100,000 population, which is 34.2% lower than in 2011.

Stroke death could be avoided simply by cutting down the consumption of large amounts of salt and sugar typically found in a traditional Russian diet. For years I have been trying to make my parents to eat healthier and to stop cooking with these additives, which proved to me that some battles I just can’t win.

Motor vehicle related deaths also went down to 10.8 per 100,000 population, which is a drop of 11.5% compared with 2015.

================

Demographic losses of Germany in World War II

Thought provoking material related to estimation of the losses of German population in WWII.

Before the war against the Soviet Union, Germany was actively absorbing new territories with their population. Therefore, many demographic curves that are being used to estimate the German losses are not correct.

 

The population of Germany itself in 1939 was about 69,4 million.

To this we have to add +

Saarland (0.8 million people),

Austria ( 6,76 million)

The Sudetenland ( 3,64 million)

Total 80,6 million

Also in June 1941 Germany added

Danzig and Memel (0,54 million)

Poznan and Upper Silesia (9,63 million)

Luxembourg, Lorraine and Alsace ( 2.2 million people)

Also severed from Yugoslavia southern Carinthia. (0.2 million people)

PLus the natural population growth over these 2 years per 80 million peoples

Total in June 1941 Germany began the war with  94 million people.

The author estimates that in May of 1945, Germany had less than 60 million people left.

On October 29, 1946, the Command of the Western Military group estimated the population of Germany, all three of its parts with the Western Berlin, was 65,931,000. It means that in 16 months 6 million in population increase was due to the migrants coming from the Sudetenland, Poland, and Kalingrad, and also POWs returned from captivity on the Western front. From the Easter front and the Soviet Union the last POWs had returned to Germany in 1949, which also contributed to the population growth. Let’s say that in the middle of 1046, Germany had 66 million people. At the beginning of 1941 Germany had 94 million people. This means that the demographic losses in Germany amounted to 28 million+ 2-3 million that would constitute the natural population growth during this time if the war didn’t take place.

A total loss of population was 30-31 million, or 30% of the population.

Demographic losses of the Soviet population was 40 million, or 20% of the entire population.

 

The biggest comparative losses of WWII were sustained by Poland

From 1939 to 1945, the population of Poland shrank from 35 million to 23.9 million plus 3 million of natural growth. If the WWII didn’t happen Poland would have in 1945 larger population than it has now.

However, most of those people who died weren’t ethnically Polish. In 1939, on the territory that Poland claimed as its own in 1945 lived 24.6 million people including Jews, Germans, Lithuanians, Byelorussians and Ukrainians. Under the guise of war, those territories were ethnically cleansed by the Poles to achieve 98% of ethnic purity. The Poles themselves lost three million people due to the war.

At the same time, Britain did not suffer any significant demographic losses. By facilitating and financing the WWII, Britain bled Germany (30 m), Poland (15), and the Soviet Union (40m) and together with other European countries (15m), reduced the population of continental Europe by 100 million people. Same time Britain bled India (2.1m) in Bengal famine of 1943 and China (80m).

====================================

Finland has reached its demographic cross.

In 2016, a total of 53,923 persons died, which is the largest number since 1944. The previous record year after the 1940s was 2015, from which the number of deaths now grew by another 1,431. Altogether, 501 more women and 930 more men died than in 2015.

According to Statistics Finland’s data on population changes, 52,814 children were born in 2016. The number of births has now decreased for the sixth year in succession. The number of births was 2,658 children, i.e. 4.8 per cent fewer than in 2015. This yearly decrease is the highest since the beginning of the 1970s, when measured in relative terms.

With 5.5 million population, even

Even 329,219 emigrants are not able to change this. Finland will never have a natural growth of its population.

 

======================

In 2016 Ukraine had the least number of vaccinated children at 23%.

 

Scott Humor

غزوة البقرة الحلوب وأسرار الأرقام .. من الذي دفع الجزية لترامب؟؟

نارام سرجون

عندما تتكلم الأرقام تسكت الحروف الهجائية .. ويسكت المشعوذون والدجالون .. ويسكت الفقهاء وعلماء الفتوى

فالأرقام ليست مثل الحروف حمالة أوجه .. بل هي حاسمة قاطعة .. وقد لفت نظر جميع من تابع الصفقة الاميريكة السعودية أن أرقامها تفوق الخيال .. حتى الأميريكون فاجأتهم غزوة البقرة الحلوب كما فاجأ تهاون السادات وقبوله السريع بشروط اتفاقية السلام الوفد الاسرائيلي بقيادة مناحيم بيغين .. ولابأس أمام هذا النصر لترامب في غزوة البقرة الحلوب من ان نستعين هنا بمصطلح..أم المعارك .. وبدلا من تسمية صفقة سلمان وترامب بغزوة البقرة الحلوب يمكن ان نقول بارتياح أنها “معركة أم الأبقار” ..

وبالعودة الى الرقم الفلكي للصفقة السعودية نجد أنها أخذت صفة الرشوة للتخفيف والتغطية على الوصف الحقيقي لها لأنها جزية في الحقيقة دفعها “ملك المسلمين لهرقل ملك الروم” لأول مرة منذ معركة اليرموك .. وقيمة هذه الجزية عمليا تفوق مجموع كل الجزيات التي جمعها المسلمون من الديار التي فتحوها في كل تاريخهم ..

ولكن الصدمة لاتتوقف هنا .. فالأرقام تشير الى حقيقة أن من دفع المال ليس الأمراء ولاالأسرة المالكة السعودية .. فلم تكلف هذه الصفقة أي أمير وأي فرد من الأسرة المالكة ريالا واحدا .. بل تم جمع هذه الجزية من شعب نجد والحجاز (الذي يسمونه الشعب السعودي) بالمليم والريال .. فقد اشاعت الاسرة المالكة منذ أشهر أن البلاد تمر بعجز مالي وانها مقبلة على الافلاس وأنها تقترض و تشد الأحزمة على البطون وتخفض الرواتب والعلاوات والأجور ووو ..

وكان وزير المالية السعودي منذ أشهر يقول بمرارة وصراحة ملفتة للنظر بأن على المواطن السعودي الذي اعتاد السكن في دار كبيرة أن ينسى هذه الرفاهية وأن يسكن في دار صغيرة وأن من اعتاد ركوب سيارات فارهة أن يبحث عن سيارات التوفير الاقتصادي ..

وتبين أن كل هذه الحملة الدعائية والتهويل من الافلاس لتبرير سحب الأموال والاقتطاعات لم تكن لانقاذ الاقتصاد السعودي بل لتقديم جزية هائلة للأميريكيين دفعها كل المواطنين .. ويجب أن تسمى “أم الجزيات” .. وصار كل ريال يوفره المواطن في المملكة يعرف أنه (جزية ترامب) تماما كما عرفت اوروبا ماكان يعرف بـ (عشر صلاح الدين) وهو الضريبة التي فرضها البابا على الأوروبيين لتمويل حروب الصليبيين لاسترداد القدس بعد تحريرها ..

مايلفت النظر هو تطابق تقديرات العجز السعودي مع مبلغ الصفقة الرهيبة .. مما لايدع مجالا للشك أن الشعب وحده هو الي دفع الجزية وأن القصر الملكي كان يحضر لهذه الصفقة ليسددها الشعب من لحمه ورفاهيته .. وأبقى الأمراء أموالهم بالحفظ والصون .. والكارثة أن هذا أول الغيث وهذه أول الجزيات .. فكل رئيس سيحدد رقم جزيته .. وكل جزية ستبز ماقبلها ..

عندما تسقط هذه المملكة يوما سينبش الشعب كل الأسرار ويكتشف أنه لم يسبقه في التاريخ شعب تمت سرقته بها الشكل الأسطوري الذي لم تحك عنه الحكايا .. وحده التاريخ سيحكي عن العرب الحكايا ..

Related Videos

 

Al-Saud’s Only Gamble Option

May 22, 2017

by Ghassan Kadi

A lot has been said and speculated on about the “real” objectives of Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Seasoned veteran British journalist/analyst and Middle East expert Robert Fisk sees it as an attempt to create a Sunni-style NATO to curb the Iranian expansion, and his speculation is on the money, but in realistic terms, what can this visit and its “aftermath” achieve?

Despite the slump on crude oil prices over the last 2-3 years, the Saudis are not short on cash, despite the huge and growing deficit they are running. Their reserve cash is estimated to be a whopping three quarters of a trillion American dollars, and the unit “trillion” has been chosen here because it is the millions of the 21st Century and billions have become too small to consider.

That said, the Saudis have recently pledged nearly a third of their stash on “investments” with the USA. The first allotment came in the form of an undertaking to invest over 100 billion dollars in the American housing sector less than a fortnight ago, and upon Trump’s historic Riyadh visit, the Saudis signed an excess of 100 billion dollar arms deal contract. This is a total of an excess of 200 billion American dollars to be injected into the American economy. But on the scale of trillions again, this huge figure amounts to only a mere 1% of America’s staggering official 20 trillion dollar debt.

A drop in the ocean perhaps if taken into the context of the American economy and debt, but there is little doubt that this Saudi money will create jobs in the USA, and if President Trump is still sticking by the promise of creating jobs, he’s on the money with this one too.

Thus far, and nearly four months after his inauguration, it can safely be said that the most predictable thing about President Trump thus far has been his unpredictability. But with all of his eccentricities and swings, what was it that made him swing in favour of Al-Saud? It may not be very difficult to solve this puzzle if we look at the chain of events.

Surely, the USA has a lot of strategic interests in the area, and these interests are multi-faceted. Among other things, the USA wants to protect the long-term wellbeing of Israel, curb the influence of Russia and Iran in the region, have a share in the decision making of the “War on Syria”, and last be not least, keep a tight control on Saudi oil and cash wealth.

One of Trump’s election promises was to get America’s allies to pay their way, and he was very vocal about the Saudis saying on a number of occasions that protecting Saudi Arabia was costing the USA more than it should be paying for. Those subtle “threats” sent a wave of shivers down the spines of Saudi royals, especially that they were already in deep trouble financially and also bogged down in a protracted and highly expensive war in Yemen that seems unwinnable.

Given that the Saudis believed that former President Obama has let them down and did not invade Syria after the alleged East Ghouta chemical attack of August 2013, the unknown and rather unstable Trump looked like a wild card and they braced for the worst.

Knowing that they are in deep trouble and need America more than ever, feeling extremely nervous about the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudis realized that the only option they have with Trump was to appease him; “but how?”, they wondered. But when they put two and two together, and listened to Trump’s statements about Saudi Arabia, the Saudis realized that they can and will appease him with money; a quarter of a trillion dollars and counting.

Taking the big fat cheque book out is not a modus operandi that is alien to the Saudi psyche, because the Saudis have learned to solve their problems with money. And now, they believe that they are forging a new era of military and strategic alliance with the United States, and paying for this privilege with hard cash.

What they do not know is that whilst they were dreaming big, thinking that they are on the verge of becoming a regional superpower to be reckoned with signing an alliance with America, Donald Trump was signing a business deal, a sales contract; nothing more and nothing less.

The way Trump sees this is a win-win situation. If the Saudis do manage to get the upper military hand and curb the Iranians, he would have reached this zenith not only without having to fight Iran, but also whilst being paid for it. On the other hand, if the Saudis take a gamble to go to war with Iran and lose, he would have received his quarter trillion in advance. So for Saudi Arabia to win or lose, the deal makes America a quarter of a trillion dollar richer; or rather a quarter of a trillion less in debt.

In reality however, what are the odds of Saudi Arabia winning an open war with Iran? Or will this war eventuate in the first place? Back to this question later on.

In a part of the world that is highly volatile, supplying a huge arsenal of highly lethal weapons to a regime that is known for its atrocities, war crimes, inciting regional tension and creating conflict is pouring oil on an already raging fire. Trump’s arms deal with the Saudis probably marks one of the lowest points in America’s history. If anything, after the historic American-Iranian nuclear deal, America was in a position to play the role of an arbitrator and try to get the Saudis and the Iranians to reconcile; coerce them if needed. Instead, Trump turned his attack on Jihadi terrorism by supplying more support to the core and centre of terrorism (Saudi Arabia) and signed a huge arms deal that will only lead to further and much deadlier escalations.

With seemingly very powerful Sunni/Shiite animosities resurfacing after many centuries of dormancy, the pro-American axis happens to be predominantly Sunni and the pro-Russian resistance axis is seen to be Shiite; though it is not as such in reality. That said, the strongest Sunni army in the region is undoubtedly Turkey’s, and Turkey could potentially play a key role in bolstering Fisk’s Sunni-”NATO”. However, the Kurdish issue is a bigger threat to Turkey than Iran has ever been, and Turkey will walk away from its Sunni brothers and “NATO” allies if they were to support Kurdish separatists and arm them; and the irony is that they are.

Without Turkey, a Sunni-”NATO” will be a toothless tiger, unless perhaps it receives enough support from Israel; a support America will not be prepared to offer. But apart from some possible airstrikes and intelligence sharing, how much support will Israel give if any at all? And how much will Putin will be able to weigh in with his clout to keep Netanyahu’s nose out of it? Last but not least, how will the leaders of a so-called Sunni-”NATO” be able to “sell” the idea of getting into an alliance with Israel with its Sunni populace base?

There is little doubt that the Saudis now feel that Trump has given them a carte blanche to attack Iran, and if they swallow the bait fully, they may be foolish enough to take the gamble. But first, they have to finish off Yemen, and then look back and think how they miscalculated when they planned the so-called “Operation Decisive Storm”, and which was meant to be a swift and successful operation. More than two years later, victory seems further than ever predicted all the while the Yemenis have been improving their missile manufacturing capabilities and have been able to hit targets in the capital Riyadh.

Whilst the Saudis were begging the Americans to sell them more advanced weapons to win the war in Yemen, the Yemenis were developing their own. But given that Saudis believe that all problems can be solved provided one is prepared to spend as much as needed, the bottom line for them will always be, “how much?”

The Saudis will not only have to re-evaluate the short-sighted military gamble they took in Yemen, but also the financial one. No one knows for certain what has thus far been the dollar cost that the Saudis had to cough up, but it is in the tens of billions of dollars. With a country that is currently running a near 90 billion dollar budget deficit and diminishing returns, to gamble one third of the national savings on a new war aimed at Iran is tantamount to both, military and financial suicide.

If a war against Iran is at all winnable by the Saudis, what will be the dollar cost?

If the budget ceiling was broken, just like that of Operation Decisive Storm, and if the Saudis realize that the over 100 billion odd dollars they “invested” to buy state-of-the-art weaponry from the USA was not enough, by how much will they be prepared to lift the cost ceiling? They will only need to break the ceiling 3-4 fold before they actually run out of cash reserves. Such a budget overblow is not unusual in wars, and Yemen and Syria are living proof for the Saudis to learn from; if they are capable of learning.

A war against Iran will perhaps be Al-Saud’s final gamble option, but unless the Saudi royals change their rhetoric and seek reconciliation with their Shiite neighbours, this war could well be Al-Saud’s only gamble option.

But the bottom line to any military action is military pragmatism. How can the Saudis think that they can invade and subdue Iran when they haven’t been able to subdue a starved and besieged Yemen? In the unlikely event that they will be able to serve Iran with a swift “shock-and-awe” strike and achieve prompt victory, what will add to their woes is Iran’s ability to close the Strait of Hormuz and to also hit oil production areas and ports. In simple terms, the Saudi war on Yemen is expensive enough, but a war with Iran will be much more expensive, and one that will cut off Saudi life-line; its income.

Do the Saudis believe that expensive imported hardware is going to give the military edge they need? “Knowing” Trump, he will likely wait till the Saudis are down on their knees begging and then extort them by hiking the price of an elusive “super weapon”, perhaps even an A-Bomb, that will tip the war in Saudi favour. But “knowing” the Saudis and Iranians, if the Saudis attack and start an all-out war on Iran, then this may indeed earn the name of decisive storm, but not on Saudi terms. Will Iran virtually walk into Saudi Arabia? Such a scenario cannot be overruled. More than likely however, America will continue to feed the fire for as long as the Saudi cow (female camel in this instance) can be milked and for as long as there is money to be had. For as long as the infamous Al-Saud are on the throne, the kingdom will continue to be run by the same old rules of arrogance that will not stop until that evil legacy is down and vanquished.

 

China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power

The Lessons of History

First published on GR in March 2012

The study of world power has been blighted by Eurocentric historians who have distorted and ignored the dominant role China played in the world economy between 1100 and 1800.  John Hobson’s[1] brilliant historical survey of the world economy during this period provides an abundance of empirical data making the case for China ’s economic and technological superiority over Western civilization for the better part of a millennium prior to its conquest and decline in the 19th century.

China ’s re-emergence as a world economic power raises important questions about what we can learn from its previous rise and fall and about the external and internal threats confronting this emerging economic superpower for the immediate future.

First we will outline the main contours of historical China ’s rise to global economic superiority over West before the 19th century, following closely John Hobson’s account in The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization.  Since the majority of western economic historians (liberal, conservative and Marxist) have presented historical China as a stagnant, backward, parochial society, an “oriental despotism”, some detailed correctives will be necessary.  It is especially important to emphasize how China , the world technological power between 1100 and 1800, made the West’s emergence possible.  It was only by borrowing and assimilating Chinese innovations that the West was able to make the transition to modern capitalist and imperialist economies.

In part two we will analyze and discuss the factors and circumstances which led to China ’s decline in the 19th century and its subsequent domination, exploitation and pillage by Western imperial countries, first England and then the rest of Europe, Japan and the United States .

In part three, we will briefly outline the factors leading to China’s emancipation from colonial and neo-colonial rule and analyze its recent rise to becoming the second largest global economic power.

Finally we will look at the past and present threats to China ’s rise to global economic power, highlighting the similarities between British colonialism of the 18 and 19th centuries and the current US imperial strategies and focusing on the weaknesses and strengths of past and present Chinese responses.

China:  The Rise and Consolidation of Global Power 1100 – 1800

In a systematic comparative format, John Hobson provides a wealth of empirical indicators demonstrating China ’s global economic superiority over the West and in particular England .  These are some striking facts:

As early as 1078, China was the world’s major producer of steel (125,000 tons); whereas Britain in 1788 produced 76,000 tons.

China was the world’s leader in technical innovations in textile manufacturing, seven centuries before Britain ’s 18th century “textile revolution”.

China was the leading trading nation, with long distance trade reaching most of Southern Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe .  China’s ‘agricultural revolution’ and productivity surpassed the West down to the 18th century.

Its innovations in the production of paper, book printing, firearms and tools led to a manufacturing superpower whose goods were transported throughout the world by the most advanced navigational system.

China possessed the world’s largest commercial ships.  In 1588 the largest English ships displaced 400 tons, China ’s 3,000 tons.  Even as late as the end of the 18th century China ’s merchants employed 130,000 private transport ships, several times that of Britain . China retained this pre-eminent position in the world economy up until the early 19th century.

British and Europeans manufacturers followed China ’s lead, assimilating and borrowing its more advanced technology and were eager to penetrate China ’s advanced and lucrative market.

Banking, a stable paper money economy, manufacturing and high yields in agriculture resulted in China ’s per capita income matching that of Great Britain as late as 1750.

China ’s dominant global position was challenged by the rise of British imperialism, which had adopted the advanced technological, navigational and market innovations of China and other Asian countries in order to bypass earlier stages in becoming a world power[2].

Western Imperialism and the Decline of China

The British and Western imperial conquest of the East, was based on the militaristic nature of the imperial state, its non-reciprocal economic relations with overseas trading countries and the Western imperial ideology which motivated and justified overseas conquest.

Unlike China , Britain ’s industrial revolution and overseas expansion was driven by a military policy.  According to Hobson, during the period from 1688-1815 Great Britain was engaged in wars 52% of the time[3].  Whereas the Chinese relied on their open markets and their superior production and sophisticated commercial and banking skills, the British relied on tariff protection, military conquest, the systematic destruction of competitive overseas enterprises as well as the appropriation and plunder of local resources.  China ’s global predominance was based on ‘reciprocal benefits’ with its trading partners, while Britain relied on mercenary armies of occupation, savage repression and a ‘divide and conquer’ policy to foment local rivalries.  In the face of native resistance, the British (as well as other Western imperial powers) did not hesitate to exterminate entire communities[4].

Unable to take over the Chinese market through greater economic competitiveness, Britain relied on brute military power.  It mobilized, armed and led mercenaries, drawn from its colonies in India and elsewhere to force its exports on China and impose unequal treaties to lower tariffs.  As a result China was flooded with British opium produced on its plantations in India – despite Chinese laws forbidding or regulating the importation and sale of the narcotic.  China ’s rulers, long accustomed to its trade and manufacturing superiority, were unprepared for the ‘new imperial rules’ for global power.  The West’s willingness to use military power  to win colonies, pillage resources and recruit huge mercenary armies commanded by European officers spelt the end for China as a world power.

China had based its economic predominance on ‘non-interference in the internal affairs of its trading partners’.  In contrast, British imperialists intervened violently in Asia , reorganizing local economies to suit the needs of the empire (eliminating economic competitors including more efficient Indian cotton manufacturers) and seized control of local political, economic and administrative apparatus to establish the colonial state.

Britain ’s empire was built with resources seized from the colonies and through the massive militarization of its economy[5].  It was thus able to secure military supremacy over China .  China ’s foreign policy was hampered by its ruling elite’s excessive reliance on trade relations.  Chinese officials and merchant elites sought to appease the British and convinced the emperor to grant devastating extra-territorial concessions opening markets to the detriment of Chinese manufacturers while surrendering local sovereignty.  As always, the British precipitated internal rivalries and revolts further destabilizing the country.

Western and British penetration and colonization of China ’s market created an entire new class:  The wealthy Chinese ‘compradores’ imported British goods and facilitated the takeover of local markets and resources.  Imperialist pillage forced greater exploitation and taxation of the great mass of Chinese peasants and workers.  China ’s rulers were obliged to pay the war debts and finance trade deficits imposed by the Western imperial powers by squeezing its peasantry.  This drove the peasants to starvation and revolt.

By the early 20th century (less than a century after the Opium Wars), China had descended from world economic power to a broken semi-colonial country with a huge destitute population.  The principle ports were controlled by Western imperial officials and the countryside was subject to the rule by corrupt and brutal warlords.  British opium enslaved millions.

British Academics:  Eloquent Apologists for Imperial Conquest

The entire Western academic profession – first and foremost British  imperial historians – attributed British imperial dominance of Asia to English ‘technological superiority’ and China’s misery and colonial status to ‘oriental backwardness’, omitting any mention of the millennium of Chinese commercial and technical progress and superiority up to the dawn of the 19th century.  By the end of the 1920’s, with the Japanese imperial invasion, China ceased to exist as a unified country.  Under the aegis of imperial rule, hundreds of millions of Chinese had starved or were dispossessed or slaughtered, as the Western powers and Japan plundered its economy.  The entire Chinese ‘collaborator’ comprador elite were discredited before the Chinese people.

What did remain in the collective memory of the great mass of the Chinese people – and what was totally absent in the accounts of prestigious US and British academics – was the sense of China once having been a prosperous, dynamic and leading world power.  Western commentators dismissed this collective memory of China ’s ascendancy as the foolish pretensions of nostalgic lords and royalty – empty Han arrogance.

China Rises from the Ashes of Imperial Plunder and Humiliation:  The Chinese Communist Revolution

The rise of modern China to become the second largest economy in the world was made possible only through the success of the Chinese communist revolution in the mid-20th century.  The People’s Liberation ‘Red’ Army defeated first the invading Japanese imperial army and later the US imperialist-backed comprador led Kuomintang “Nationalist” army.  This allowed the reunification of China as an independent sovereign state.  The Communist government abolished the extra-territorial privileges of the Western imperialists, ended the territorial fiefdoms of the regional warlords and gangsters and drove out the millionaire owners of brothels, the traffickers of women and drugs as well as the other “service providers” to the Euro-American Empire.

In every sense of the word, the Communist revolution forged  the modern Chinese state.  The new leaders then proceeded to reconstruct an economy ravaged by imperial wars and pillaged by Western and Japanese capitalists.  After over 150 years of infamy and humiliation the Chinese people recovered their pride and national dignity.  These socio-psychological elements were essential in motivating the Chinese to defend their country from the US attacks, sabotage, boycotts, and blockades mounted immediately after liberation.

Contrary to Western and neoliberal Chinese economists, China ’s dynamic growth did not start in 1980.  It began in 1950, when the agrarian reform provided land, infrastructure, credits and technical assistance to hundreds of millions of landless and destitute peasants and landless rural workers. Through what is now called “human capital” and gigantic social mobilization, the Communists built roads, airfields, bridges, canals and railroads as well as the basic industries, like coal, iron and steel, to form the backbone of the modern Chinese economy.  Communist China’s vast free educational and health systems created a healthy, literate and motivated work force.  Its highly professional military prevented the US from extending its military empire throughout the Korean peninsula up to China ’s territorial frontiers.  Just as past Western scholars and propagandists fabricated a history of a “stagnant and decadent” empire to justify their destructive conquest, so too their modern counterparts have rewritten the first thirty years of Chinese Communist history, denying the role of the revolution in developing all the essential elements for a modern economy, state and society.  It is clear that China ’s rapid economic growth was based on the development of its internal market, its rapidly growing cadre of scientists, skilled technicians and workers and the social safety net which protected and promoted working class and peasant mobility were products of Communist planning and investments.

China ’s rise to global power began in 1949 with the removal of the entire parasitic financial, compradore and speculative classes who had served as the intermediaries for European, Japanese and US imperialists draining China of its great wealth.
China’s Transition to Capitalism

Beginning in 1980 the Chinese government initiated a dramatic shift in its economic strategy:  Over the next three decades, it opened the country to large-scale foreign investment; it privatized thousands of industries and it set in motion a process of income concentration based on a deliberate strategy of re-creating a dominant economic class of billionaires linked to overseas capitalists.  China ’s ruling political class embraced the idea of “borrowing” technical know-how and accessing overseas markets from foreign firms in exchange for providing cheap, plentiful labor at the lowest cost.

The Chinese state re-directed massive public subsidies to promote high capitalist growth by dismantling its national system of free public education and health care.  They ended subsidized public housing for hundreds of millions of peasants and urban factory workers and provided funds to real estate speculators for the construction of private luxury apartments and office skyscrapers. China ’s new capitalist strategy as well as its double digit growth was based on the profound structural changes and massive public investments made possible by the previous communist government.  China ’s private sector “take off” was based on the huge public outlays made since 1949.

The triumphant new capitalist class and its Western collaborators claimed all the credit for this “economic miracle” as China rose to become the world’s second largest economy.  This new Chinese elite have been less eager to announce China ’s world-class status in terms of brutal class inequalities, rivaling only the US .

China:  From Imperial Dependency to World Class Competitor

China ’s sustained growth in its manufacturing sector was a result of highly concentrated public investments, high profits, technological innovations and a protected domestic market.  While foreign capital profited, it was always within the framework of the Chinese state’s priorities and regulations.  The regime’s dynamic ‘export strategy’ led to huge trade surpluses, which eventually made China one of the world’s largest creditors especially for US debt.  In order to maintain its dynamic industries, China has required huge influxes of raw materials, resulting in large-scale overseas investments and trade agreements with agro-mineral export countries in Africa and Latin America .  By 2010 China displaced the US and Europe as the main trading partner in many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America .

Modern China ’s rise to world economic power, like its predecessor between 1100-1800, is based on its gigantic productive capacity:  Trade and investment was governed by a policy of strict non-interference in the internal relations of its trading partners.  Unlike the US , China did initiate brutal wars for oil; instead it signed lucrative contracts.  And China does not fight wars in the interest of overseas Chinese, as the US has done in the Middle East for Israel .

The seeming imbalance between Chinese economic and military power is in stark contrast to the US where a bloated, parasitic military empire continues to erode its own global economic presence.

US military spending is twelve times that of China .  Increasingly the US military plays the key role shaping policy in Washington as it seeks to undercut China ’s rise to global power.

China’s Rise to World Power: Will History Repeat Itself?

China has been growing at about 9% per annum and its goods and services are rapidly rising in quality and value.  In contrast, the US and Europe have wallowed around 0% growth from 2007-2012.  China ’s innovative techno-scientific establishment routinely assimilates the latest inventions from the West (and Japan ) and improves them, thereby decreasing the cost of production.  China has replaced the US and European controlled “international financial institutions” (the IMF, World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank) as the principle lender in Latin America .  China continues to lead as the prime investor in African energy and mineral resources.  China has replaced the US as the principle market for Saudi Arabian, Sudanese and Iranian petroleum and it will soon replace the US as the principle market for Venezuela petroleum products.  Today China is the world’s biggest manufacturer and exporter, dominating even the US market, while playing the role of financial life line as it holds over $1.3 trillion in US Treasury notes.

Under growing pressure from its workers, farmers and peasants, China ’s rulers have been developing the domestic market by increasing wages and social spending to rebalance the economy and avoid the specter of social instability.  In contrast, US wages, salaries and vital public services have sharply declined in absolute and relative terms.

Given the current historical trends it is clear that China will replace the US as the leading world economic power, over the next decade,  if the US empire does not strike back and if China ’s profound class inequalities do not lead to a major social upheaval.

Modern China ’s rise to global power faces serious challenges.  In contrast to China ’s historical ascent on the world stage, modern Chinese global economic power is not accompanied by any imperialist undertakings.  China has seriously lagged behind the US and Europe in aggressive war-making capacity.  This may have allowed China to direct public resources to maximize economic growth, but it has left China vulnerable to US military superiority in terms of its massive arsenal, its string of forward bases and strategic geo-military positions right off the Chinese coast and in adjoining territories.

In the nineteenth century British imperialism demolished China ’s global position with its military superiority, seizing China ’s ports – because of China ’s reliance on ‘mercantile superiority’.

The conquest of India , Burma and most of Asia allowed Britain to establish colonial bases and recruit local mercenary armies.  The British and its mercenary allies encircled and isolated China , setting the stage for the disruption of China ’s markets and the imposition of the brutal terms of trade.  The British Empire’s armed presence dictated what China imported (with opium accounting for over 50% of British exports in the 1850s) while undermining China ’s competitive advantages via tariff policies.

Today the US is pursuing similar policies:  US naval fleet  patrols and controls China ’s commercial shipping lanes and off-shore oil resources via its overseas bases.  The Obama-Clinton White House is in the process of developing a rapid military response involving bases in Australia , Philippines and elsewhere in Asia .  The US is intensifying  its efforts to undermine Chinese overseas access to strategic resources while backing ‘grass roots’ separatists and ‘insurgents’ in West China, Tibet, Sudan, Burma, Iran, Libya, Syria and elsewhere.  The US military agreements with India and  the installation of a pliable puppet regime in Pakistan have advanced its strategy of isolating China .  While China upholds its policy of “harmonious development” and “non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries”, it has stepped aside as US and European military imperialism have attacked a host of China’s trading partners to essentially reverse China’s  peaceful commercial expansion.

China’s lack of a political and ideological strategy capable of protecting its overseas economic interests has been an invitation for the US and NATO to set-up regimes hostile to China .  The most striking example is Libya where US and NATO intervened to overthrow an independent government led by President Gadhafi, with whom China had signed multi-billion dollar trade and investments agreements. The NATO bombardment of Libyan cities, ports and oil installation forced the Chinese to withdraw 35,000 Chinese oil engineers and construction workers in a matter of days.  The same thing happened in Sudan where China had invested billions to develop its oil industry.  The US, Israel and Europe armed the South Sudanese rebels to disrupt the flow of oil and attack Chinese oil workers[6].  In both cases China passively allowed the US and European military imperialists to attack its trade partners and undermine its investments.

Under Mao Tse Tung, China had an active policy countering imperial aggression:  It supported revolutionary movements and independent Third World governments.  Today’s capitalist China does not have an active policy of supporting governments or movements capable of protecting China ’s bilateral trade and investment agreements.  China ’s inability to confront the rising tide of US   military aggression against its economic interests, is due to deep structural problems.  China’s foreign policy is shaped by big commercial, financial and manufacturing interests who rely on their ‘economic competitive edge’ to gain market shares and have no understanding of the military and security underpinnings of global economic power.  China ’s political class is deeply influenced by a new class of billionaires with strong ties to Western equity funds and who have uncritically absorbed Western cultural values. This is illustrated by their preference for sending their own children to elite universities in the US and Europe .  They seek “accommodation with the West” at any price.

This lack of any strategic understanding of military empire-building has led them to respond ineffectively and ad hoc to each imperialist action undermining their access to resources and markets.  While China ’s “business first” outlook may have worked when it was a minor player in the world economy and US empire builders saw  the “capitalist opening” as a chance to easily takeover China ’s public enterprises and pillage the economy.  However, when China (in contrast to the former USSR) decided to retain capital controls and develop a carefully calibrated, state directed “industrial policy”  directing western capital and the transfer of technology to state enterprises, which effectively penetrated the US domestic and overseas markets, Washington began to complain and talked of retaliation.

China ’s huge trade surpluses with the US provoked a dual response in Washington :  It sold massive quantities of US Treasury bonds to the Chinese and began to develop a global strategy to block China ’s advance. Since the US lacked economic leverage to reverse its decline, it relied on its only “comparative advantage” – its military superiority based on a world wide  system of attack bases,  a network of overseas client regimes, military proxies, NGO’ers, intellectuals and armed mercenaries.  Washington turned to its vast overt and clandestine security apparatus to undermine China ’s trading partners.  Washington depends on its long-standing ties with corrupt rulers, dissidents, journalists and media moguls to provide the powerful propaganda cover while advancing its military offensive against China ’s overseas interests.

China has nothing to compare with the US overseas ‘security apparatus’ because it practices a policy of “non-interference”.  Given the advanced state of the Western imperial offensive, China has taken only a few diplomatic initiatives, such as financing English language media outlets to present its perspective, using its veto power on the UN Security Council to oppose US efforts to overthrow the independent Assad regime in Syria and opposing the imposition of drastic sanctions against Iran .  It sternly repudiated US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s vitriolic questioning of the ‘legitimacy’ of the Chinese state when it voted against the US-UN resolution  preparing  an attack on Syria[7].

Chinese military strategists are more aware and alarmed at the growing military threat to China .  They have successfully demanded a 19% annual increase in military spending over the next five years (2011-2015)[8].  Even with this increase, China’s military expenditures will still be less than one-fifth of the US military budget and China has not one overseas military base in stark contrast to the over 750 US installations abroad.  Overseas Chinese intelligence operations are minimal and ineffective.  Its embassies are run by and for narrow commercial interests who utterly failed to understand NATO’s brutal policy of regime change in Libya and inform Beijing of its significance to the Chinese state.

There are two other structural weaknesses undermining China ’s rise as a world power. This includes the highly ‘Westernized’ intelligentsia which has uncritically swallowed US economic doctrine about free markets while ignoring its militarized economy.  These Chinese intellectuals parrot the US propaganda about the ‘democratic virtues’ of billion-dollar Presidential campaigns, while supporting financial deregulation which would have led to a Wall Street takeover of Chinese banks and savings.  Many Chinese business consultants and academics have been educated in the US and influenced by their ties to US academics and international financial institutions directly linked to Wall Street and the City of London .  They have prospered as highly-paid consultants receiving prestigious positions in Chinese institutions.  They identify the ‘liberalization of financial markets’ with “advanced economies” capable of deepening ties to global markets instead of as a major source of the current global financial crisis.  These “Westernized intellectuals” are like their 19th century comprador counterparts who underestimated and dismissed the long-term consequences of Western imperial penetration.  They fail to understand how financial deregulation in the US precipitated the current crisis and how deregulation would lead to a Western takeover of China ’s financial system- the consequences of which would reallocate China ’s domestic savings to non-productive activities (real estate speculation), precipitate financial crisis and ultimately undermine China ’s leading global position.

These Chinese yuppies imitate the worst of Western consumerist life styles and their political outlooks are driven by these life styles and Westernized identities which preclude any sense of solidarity with their own working class.

There is an economic basis for the pro-Western sentiments of China ’s neo-compradors.  They have transferred billions of dollars to foreign bank accounts, purchased luxury homes and apartments in London , Toronto , Los Angeles , Manhattan , Paris , Hong Kong and Singapore . They have one foot in China (the source of their wealth) and the other in the West (where they consume and hide their wealth).

Westernized compradores are deeply embedded in China ’s economic system having family ties with the political leadership in the party apparatus and the state. Their connections are weakest in the military and in the growing social movements, although some “dissident” students and academic activists in the “democracy movements” are backed by Western imperial NGO’s.  To the extent that the compradors gain influence, they weaken the strong economic state institutions which have directed China ’s ascent to global power, just as they did in the 19th century by acting as intermediaries for the British Empire .  Proclaiming 19th Century “liberalism” British opium addicted over 50 million Chinese in less than a decade.  Proclaiming “democracy and human rights” US gunboats now patrol off China ’s coast.  China ’s elite-directed rise to global economic power has spawned monumental inequalities between the thousands of new billionaires and multi-millionaires at the top and hundreds of millions of impoverished workers, peasants and migrant workers at the bottom.

China ’s rapid accumulation of wealth and capital was made possible through the intense exploitation of its workers who were stripped of their previous social safety net and regulated work conditions guaranteed under Communism.  Millions of Chinese households are being dispossessed in order to promote real estate developer/speculators who then build high rise offices and the luxury apartments for the domestic and foreign elite.  These brutal features of ascendant Chinese capitalism have created a fusion of workplace and living space mass struggle which is growing every year.  The developer/speculators’ slogan  “to get rich is wonderful” has lost its power to deceive the people.  In 2011 there were over 200,000 popular encompassing urban coastal factories and rural villages.  The next step, which is sure to come, will be the unification of these struggles into  new national social movements with a class-based agenda demanding the restoration of health and educational services enjoyed under the Communists as well as a greater share of China’s wealth. Current demands for greater wages can turn to demands for greater work place democracy.  To answer these popular demands China ’s new compradore-Westernized liberals cannot point to their ‘model’ in the US empire where American workers are in the process of being stripped of the very benefits Chinese workers are struggling to regain.

China , torn by deepening class and political conflict, cannot sustain its drive toward global economic leadership.  China ’s elite cannot confront the rising global imperial military threat from the US with its comprador allies among the internal liberal elite while the country is  a deeply divided society with an increasingly hostile working class.  The time of unbridled exploitation of China ’s labor has to end in order to face the US military encirclement of China and economic disruption of its overseas markets.  China possesses enormous resources.  With over $1.5 trillion dollars in reserves China can finance a comprehensive national health and educational program throughout the country.

China can afford to pursue an intensive ‘public housing program’ for the 250 million migrant workers currently living in urban squalor.  China can impose a system of progressive income taxes on its new billionaires and millionaires and finance small family farmer co-operatives and rural industries to rebalance the economy.  Their program of developing alternative energy sources, such as solar panels and wind farms – are a promising start to addressing their serious environmental pollution.  Degradation of the environment and related health issues already engage the concern of tens of millions.  Ultimately China ’s best defense against imperial encroachments is a stable regime based on social justice for the hundreds of millions and a foreign policy of supporting overseas anti-imperialist movements and regimes – whose independence are in China ’s vital interest.  What is needed is a pro-active policy based on mutually beneficial joint ventures including military and diplomatic solidarity.  Already a small, but influential, group of Chinese intellectuals have raised the issue of the growing US military threat and are “saying no to gunboat diplomacy”.[9]

Modern China has plenty of resources and opportunities, unavailable to China in the 19th century when it was subjugated by the British Empire . If the US continues to escalate its aggressive militaristic policy against China , Beijing can set off a serious fiscal crisis by dumping a few of its hundreds of billions of dollars in US Treasury notes.  China , a nuclear power should reach out to its similarly armed and threatened neighbor, Russia , to confront and confound the bellicose rantings of US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.  Russian President-to-be Putin vows to increase military spending from 3% to 6% of the GDP over the next decade to counter Washington’s offensive missile bases on Russia’s borders and thwart Obama’s ‘regime change’ programs against its allies, like Syria[10].

China has powerful trading, financial and investment networks covering the globe as well as powerful economic partners .These links have become essential for the continued growth of many of countries throughout the developing world.  In taking on China , the US will have to face the opposition of many powerful market-based elites throughout the world.  Few countries or elites see any future in tying their fortunes to an economically unstable empire-based on militarism and destructive colonial occupations.

In other words, modern China , as a world power, is incomparably stronger than it was in early 18th century.  The US does not have the colonial leverage that the ascendant British Empire possessed in the run-up to the Opium Wars.  Moreover, many Chinese intellectuals and the vast majority of its citizens have no intention of letting its current “Westernized compradors” sell out the country.  Nothing would accelerate political polarization in Chinese society and hasten the coming of a second Chinese social revolution more than a timid leadership submitting to a new era of Western imperial pillage.

Notes

[1] John Hobson, The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization ( Cambridge UK :  Cambridge University Press 2004)
[2] Ibid, Ch. 9 pp. 190 -218
[3] Ibid, Ch. 11, pp. 244-248
[4] Richard Gott, Britain’s Empire:  Resistance, Repression and Revolt ( London : Verso 2011) for a detailed historical chronicle of the savagery accompanying Britain ’s colonial empire.
[5] Hobson, pp. 253 – 256.
[6] Katrina Manson, “South Sudan puts Beijing ’s policies to the test”, Financial Times, 2/21/12, p. 5.
[7] Interview of Clinton NPR, 2/26/12.
[8] La Jornada, 2/15/12 ( Mexico City ).
[9]  China Daily (2/20/2012)
[10]Charles Clover, ‘Putin vows huge boost in defense spending’, Financial Times, 2/12/2012

Making America great… again?

May 16, 2017

by Ghassan KadiMaking America great… again?

The more pre-election, post-election and even post-inauguration promises that President Trump breaks, the harder he makes it for himself to “Make America Great again”. But this narrative herein is not based on the political rhetoric and broken promises, rather, it is about a hypothetical scenario that questions if America is realistically able to bring Trump’s slogan to fruition.

“Make America Great Again” is a catch phrase that implies a restoration process of a bygone station of greatness. So before one explores the chances of success of such an ambition, one ought to go back to the basics of how and when America was great in the first place.

Admittedly, America has historically been a country of dreams for many. The pop culture of the 1960’s has even had songs about wanting to live in America and surfing USA. The dream has been realistic and fathomable, especially for Europeans who wanted to seek a better life, and thus the flow of migration began as soon as settlement began, and that flow was later on mirrored by the rest of the world, and it did not stop as yet.

But historically also, America was never a dream for its native people; quite the contrary. The influx of white migrants into America has resulted in one of the greatest, bloodiest and definitely the longest lasting genocides that spanned for over four whole centuries.

As for the young African men and women, even boys and girls, who were raided and stolen from their tribes and villages, taken away from their parents, loved ones and friends, to be sold and traded as slaves, put to hard labour, raped and killed, there was nothing for them to dream for at all in regard to America.

A dream for some and a nightmare for others, it would be hard to say that defining America as a dream has ever been a description that has been ubiquitously endorsed during its early-mid stages of nation-building. Did the global consensus change later on?

As the new nation that became known as the United States of America became independent in the late eighteenth century, another century later, it suffered from a brutal civil war and the new nation was not really able to stand on its feet and have its place on the global scene until the union was saved and Lincoln managed to pass his 13th amendment.

As a result, America prospered, and later on, late in the nineteenth century, America became the biggest global economy, and in hindsight, the few decades that followed up until WWI, America came the closest ever to being great at different levels. President Woodrow Wilson made it clear that the USA did not join the war for any gain of territory or to build an empire. He was instrumental in setting up the “League of Nations”, the predecessor of the UN.

All the while ignoring that the 13th amendment did not stop racial segregation and we shouldn’t, ignoring that racial inequality persisted and we also shouldn’t, was this short period, the few decades spanned in between the presidencies of Lincoln and Truman enough to classify America as a great nation?

To answer this properly, we must define greatness from a humane perspective. After all, if we allow ourselves to base greatness on wealth, we will have to accept that the Rothschilds, the Soroses and the Rockefellers are the greatest people on earth, but are they? Who is a greater person George Soros or Jonas Salk who invented the anti-polio Salk vaccine and donated it to the world and refused to take any royalties?

The real greatness of people and nations ought to be gauged by their contribution to humanity, easing its pain, spreading knowledge, spearheading liberation and enlightenment, and not by their wealth.

Or is greatness a subject of might?

The post-WWII era in which America was elevated to the level of the world’s first nuclear power and most powerful nation, has left behind a legacy of wars that began in Korea and went on unstopped to Syria and counting, and has left a trail of destruction, tens of millions of civilians killed, mostly from impoverished developing countries. Economies were destroyed, infrastructures decimated, which again begs the question, how and when exactly was America ever great?

Whilst America did offer great opportunity for a great number of select people for a great number of years, based on the proper and relevant criteria of greatness, it can be fair to say that America was never really great.

Surely, many people were attracted to America to go and live there and partake in the big “American Dream”, be able to buy a Chevy, buy a house in the suburbs and send their kids to the best schools and universities in the world, all the while have the best doctors and hospitals at their beck and call. But in reality, what is the percentage of Americans who were able to afford those luxuries even during the years of economic boom?

Whilst it might be true to say that in the 1950’s – 1970’s or so, America might have had a living standard that was higher than most other nations, the standard is shrinking at an alarming rate. With nearly 50 million Americans currently on food stamps, it becomes imperative to realize that today’s USA is a country that is wrought with poverty.

But poverty is not America’s only current problem, and when Trump claims that he wants to” Make America Great Again”, assuming he means it, one wonders if he is simply talking about rebuilding America’s financial prowess.

So if Trump’s take on greatness stops with money, how far can the best ever financial reform process go? Not that there is any sign of it coming from the Trump administration, not that we can see that he is keeping his word by putting America first and stopping all wars, but we must remember that we are looking at a hypothetical situation here, one that has nothing to do with Trump.

In other words, is America able to become great again if Trump was indeed serious about his promise?

The formal and declared American debt stands at nearly $20 trillion dollars, and if calculated on a per capita basis, the figure amounts to $60,000 per every man, woman, and child. But this debt is the tip of the iceberg. With collapsing infrastructure like roads, dams, river levees, schools, airports etc, the restoration of those public facilities constitutes overhead costs that are not budgeted for. They are simply ignored and allowed to decay and rot. These are referred to as “unfunded liabilities”.

It is hard to put an accurate figure on the value of those unfunded liabilities and the estimates vary greatly from a low of $150 trillion to a high of $350 trillion. At the higher estimate figure, the individual debt balloons to nearly $9 million, again, for every man, woman and child. But even at the lower end, the per capita figure is shyly short of $4 million.

When we make balance sheets we have to look not only at liabilities, but also at assets. The estimate of America’s total assets is another elastic figure that also varies from $300 to $550 trillion. That said, if the liabilities figure is indeed in the vicinity of the high $350 trillion figure and that of assets is in the vicinity of the low $300 trillion, then America could well and truly be literally insolvent.

We must remember here that even if the high $550 trillion figure is the correct figure of assets, it does not truly mean much because much of the sub-estimates are based on untapped natural and human resources and are based on today’s value of commodities that can easily crash.

Apart from material assets, there was a time when people around the world talked about “the latest thing from America”. America was the world centre of research and development and innovation in all fields of science and technology, but today’s America does not produce enough engineers, doctors and scientists who can bear the load of a techno-financial revolution that can take America out of the trouble it is facing. When we look today at developments such as China’s massive ultra-fast railway, we can foresee that we are not far from talking about “the latest thing from China”.

On the other hand, the slick, “low budget”, and highly advanced Russian military technology has given America a run for its money. The Russians have been playing their game very smartly, exposing the Americans to a taste of what’s up their sleeve, and –God forbid- in the event of a major escalation between the two super powers, America may find itself with bases and fleets exposed as sitting ducks facing an invisible enemy. It is highly likely that the Russians are not trying to “show off”; as it were, but they are sending strong and clear messages of deterrence to their “American partners”.

Back to economy, it seems likely, as a matter of fact we can safely say that it is highly probable that the demise of the American economy has gone too far and beyond repair. It is also possible that Trump has come to this realization after his inauguration, and that after reaching this realization, he made his U-turn on his promises on the basis that all he has left up his sleeve is a stash of nukes and a mighty war machine.

To reconsider the definition of greatness, does President Trump believe that might alone brings greatness and that by escalating the global bullying role of the United States of America he is going to “Make America Great Again”?

America is certainly a nation that has the highest military budget, largest navy and more off-shore military basis than the rest of the world combined, it has had the world’s biggest economy for many decades and continues to enjoy this status, but has never been a great nation that has spread knowledge and wisdom to the rest of the world. It has used its military might in the past to pillage poor countries and its current financial woes are literally impossible to resolve.

But when it comes to military matters, what is pertinent is that most, if not all, American military ventures have failed to achieve their objectives. After reaching a stale-mate in Korea, a total defeat in Vietnam, after two decades into the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, America is still incapable of gaining the upper hand on the ground.

So if the military is the only trump card left up Trump’s sleeve in order to “Make America Great Again”, on what grounds is he basing his assumption that he can confront and subdue Russia and China combined given that the 125,000 strong American army that invaded Iraq in 2003 was not even able to control the streets of Baghdad?

Ironically, Obama and Trump have both won their campaigns using slogans that are based on desperation; from “Yes We Can” to “Make America Great Again”, the slogans were effectively used to lure in voters who cognize that America is in deep trouble and needs a saviour. Obama has failed and left America with twice the official debt that he inherited on his inauguration day, and Trump will not be able to do much, because like a rusty old car, America is too far gone, and I feel sorry for the good people of America, and there are many of them, including some very good and dear personal friends.

EU to offer 2-speed solution too late to stop French election

March 17, 2017

by Ramin MazaheriEU to offer 2-speed solution too late to stop French election

Keep asking the fundamental question: Has the European Union brought the prosperity and security it promised?

No.

Then that will always be a perfectly valid reason for exiting.

Because it hasn’t brought prosperity and security, can the European Union be reformed?

I have said “no” for years, but it’s been a month of historic changes in Europe, with more to come.

After years of rejecting such an idea, Europe’s leaders are expected to unveil a new plan for a “two-speed” European Union – where countries can choose their level of involvement – on March 25th, the 60th anniversary of the EU.

This is a rather shocking about-face, but will it save the Union?

Let’s be honest: The EU is nearly 60 and the bloom is off the rose, especially if she cuts her hair any shorter.

The timing is clear: France’s anti-Euroeverything Marine Le Pen seems assured of making it to the 2ndround presidential vote 8 weeks from now.

Le Pen has promised a Frexit vote this year if elected? Yes, she’s still losing in the 2nd round of all polls, but it has been a year of upsetting the political establishment: Cameron, Renzi, Hollande, Sarkozy, Clinton, etc.

My question is: Why not earlier, Brussels?

Yes, all governments move slowly, but the Brexit vote was last year.

A year ago is also when the uber-neoliberal International Monetary Fund admitted that austerity policies don’t work, which is something proven by the fact that they have never worked anywhere in recorded human history.

If Brussels thinks this can be a game changer in the French election, it may be too late.

That will all depend on if the EU/mainstream media’s preferred candidate – neoliberal globalist Emmanuel Macron – picks up the ball and runs with it or not.

But how can an unprecedented plan to unify a continent work if Brussels is always behind the curve, instead of setting it? The European Union is a revolutionary idea, but it bypassed the formation of a revolutionary leadership class and went straight to a middling, self-protective, corrupt bureaucratic guardianship.

Monday morning quarterbacking aside, 2 historic events just occurred

First, on March 1st European Commission President and Luxembourgeois Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled a White Paper on the future of the EU. He described five different scenarios about what the EU could be like in 2025.

Juncker clearly doesn’t have much faith in the future of the EU because, à la Francois Hollande, he won’t be seeking a 2nd term in 2019. Heck, he may even quit this month.

Hardly an inspiring leader who can unify a bloc, eh? Castro, he ain’t! Juncker’s (non) leadership is only inspiring to Eurosceptics.

The five options were presented to give the impression of democratic choice. Had they presented just one option…well, that would have been straightforward – and a bureaucratic class always rely on obfuscation to maintain power.

Hidden and middling to the maximum – at number 3 – among outgoing president Juncker’s five different plans was a two-speed Europe.

We aren’t going to waste time with the other four, because a two-speed Europe is the only one that really matters.

It is already a fact that it’s the only one that really matters because this week the heads of Germany, France, Italy and Spain met in Paris and said this is what they will push for.

This is a veritable political earthquake, even if people don’t realize it yet. It’s also an overturning of years of explicitly rejecting such changes.

But after Brexit the EU knows they have a problem, and that changes must be made.

Waitaminut: Yer telling me the EU is actually gonna change?

Is there any chance any major changes – such as a two-speed Europe – will be implemented, and quickly?

That depends – do you mean “democratically implemented”?

Firstly, let’s recall that a lack of democratic approval has never stopped the EU before: 8 times since 1992 national referendums have rejected key aspects of the EU, only to be totally and undemocratically ignored or subverted.

Amazing how such facts of history get ignored by the rabidly pro-EU supporters….

What would “democratically implemented” actually look like?

Well, European PMs are up for re-election in 2019. To give any changes the democratic approval they certainly require, EU leaders would need to decide, agree and campaign on the proposed changes well before this next legislative vote. That would give the public the chance to give their say – via vote – on the new changes.

But democratically proposing, debating and voting on structural changes to the EU’s political foundations by 2019?

It’s not impossible, but that’s still a very ambitious goal.

It would be ambitious of any single nation to hold a referendum on radically altering its very political structure.

But we are not talking about a single nation – we are talking about 28 of them. Well, 27 after Brexit.

More importantly, I have repeatedly stated that the EU is structurally incapable of reform because any major change requires the unanimous approval of all 27 members. Getting just 27 people to agree on anything is an arduous process, much less 27 nations.

Case in point: On Friday the EU was stymied in their effort get Poland’s Donald Tusk’s re-elected as president of the European Council. One country voted against him, so the body was nearly brought to a halt.

The dissenting country? Poland.

Noble Poland! Free Poland! Partitioned…Poland.

Why? Because there is both intense Euroscepticism in Poland, and also intense pro-EU sentiment…and this is the same everywhere. It’s complicated and emotional.

Perhaps EU “founders” realized this by installing this principle of unanimity, one which was likely taken from…Poland again!

The “liberum veto” was used during the era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a dominant and important (if unfairly ignored) European power. The veto was a major democratic advancement against absolute monarchy, and the PLC produced just the 2nd codified constitution in modern history, after the US.

When all the nobles were truly noble and in agreement, the unanimity principle worked out fine and the union peaked in the early 17th century. But when some aristocrats were bought off by foreign powers…proceedings could easily come to a dead halt and thus stagnation set in.

And then partition. And more partition.

In the case of Tusk, the liberum veto principle was not technically in play, but it had been common precedent for the council president to be elected unanimously.

Furthermore, Poland persuasively argued that the EU had no right to elect Tusk as their president when he was not even backed by his home country, LOL!

No matter – the EU ignored Poland’s claim for sovereignty over their own officials and re-elected Tusk anyway.

Poland expected the unanimity principle to be followed, but it wasn’t technically enshrined in this case, and so the bureaucrats got their way.

A new precedent has also been set: The EU can apparently dragoon anyone they want into power.

However, it is still this liberum veto system which ultimately defines the political structure of the European Union and which will make any change – two, three, 18-speed – seemingly impossible to democratically implement.

News flash: A multi-speed Europe is already legal, so they don’t need democracy

EU rules already permit groups of at least nine member states to pursue “enhanced cooperation”.

Barring a major earthquake that brings the EU to a halt – like a Frexit – the bureaucrats already have all the tools at their disposal to enforce the will of the elites. They don’t need any “referendum” – they’ll say “the rules for a multi-speed Europe have already been democratically approved” (except when they were rejected).

The basis of a multi-speed Europe is already permitted, it’s going to happen with or without a vote, and you can check the Rome Summit on March 25 to find that out for sure.

That’s the reality.

I predict they will use this rationale to create a two-speed Europe, regardless of the democratic preference of over 500 million people. Perhaps they will put it to a vote…in which case March 25th will announce the start of that campaign, and this is all we’ll be talking about for 2 years.

But I am Eurosceptical because the EU, and especially the Eurozone, was never a very democratic project. The EU is, fundamentally, a bureaucrat and lobby-dominated institution, after all – it was never truly revolutionary.

So what is a multi-speed Europe? We do have to move on….

A multi-speed Europe is basically a “coalition of the willing” – countries can join or not join multinational policies on economic growth, border protection, common defense, tax systems and others as they wish.

That’s the positive spin on it.

The negative spin is: This allows Western Europe to integrate at an even more breakneck pace, which is something many Western Europeans already do not want (see, “Brexit”).

Secondly, I hardly doubt the 27 nations of the EU will be democratically consulting their citizens for each and every multinational policy they join. The EU’s policies of economic austerity have been rammed through over the will of their people, so why will the future be any different?

Thirdly, a multi-speed Europe is already deeply opposed by many members in Central/Eastern Europe, who see themselves as being left out. Opposition to this plan was a major reason why Poland refused to vote in favor of native son Tusk.

Is a multi-speed Europe a good idea?

The existential crisis of the EU has always boiled down to this: Should there be “more Europe” or “less Europe”?

Clearly, changes are needed, because countries which have followed EU and Eurozone dictates have gone into a prolonged crisis.

EU economic growth since 2010 is just 1.3%, which is below the 1.5% required to start producing jobs. And this is me being charitable: I’m ignoring the -4.4% growth of 2009.

The best gauge of economic policies is how long and how deep an economic downturn lasts, as capitalism guarantees there will definitely be downturns, after all. For an alternative system, please check the stable long-term growth rates of communist behemoths like China as well as international blockade victims like Cuba.

The need to end the EU’s economic woes is immediate and clear.

Also clear is that there are huge economic divergences between EU countries – standard of living, borrowing rates, economic output, etc.

The EU was supposed to end this divergence. It was going to bring prosperity and stability, remember?

But capitalists never waste a good crisis and the 2009 European Sovereign Debt Crisis will go down in history as the time when the EU stopped working and started dying.

It is now abundantly clear that the economic solidarity which would be required from the richer nations of the EU to make “more Europe” work…simply does not exist.

Germany, France and the Netherlands only had the stomach to economically gut and destroy weaker nations like Greece and Portugal.

The rich nations got what they wanted – ports, airports, water departments, laws favoring their own industries against local industries – and now they want to take their money and leave “more Europe” behind.

Thus we will have “multiple speed” Europe on the table for the first time ever.

A “multiple-speed Europe” could indeed be a great option – it recognizes the fact that the required economic solidarity does not exist amid economically divergent countries.

The best option would be for Germany to leave, as many economists suggest – their economy is too strong and it upsets the entire balance. This is quite logical, if you think about it. You never read about that, though.

Germany can take their stupid, economically-blind, false-morality ideology of “We refuse to recognize that for us to export means someone has to import, and thus imbalances are required to exist, ” and not come back, as far as the rest of Europe is concerned.

Germany wants to stay in because neoliberal plundering is very profitable, after all.

Or countries like Greece could leave and start choosing their own economic policies to benefit their own citizens instead of French and German bankers.

They could drop out of the Euro and re-adopt the drachma, allowing them to set their own exchange rates, pay off their debt (read: interest on debt) and regain economic competitiveness.

But there are no guarantees on what a “multiple speed” Europe will actually look like, however….

Two-speed Europe will be “Rich Eurozone, poor everyone else”

It seems difficult to believe that high finance won’t win the day, as this is Europe and it is capitalist.

Therefore, the dividing line is likely to be set by Eurozone members banding together to form the top speed.

This why I don’t see “multiple speed” Europe being decided in March, or implemented by 2019, because the EU/Eurozone has to punish the hell out of Britain for Brexit.

That is a serious job!

Brexit is expected to be formally trigged this week (March 15), which means it’s not until 2019 that France and Germany can prove to Greece, Portugal and anyone else thinking of existing just how costly it will be to quit the club. If “multiple speed EU” is decided before Britain pays, we should see a rash of Euro exits.

And doesn’t France and Germany want to intimidate anyone from exiting? Doesn’t France and Germany want the neoliberal looting of poor countries to continue ?

Because there’s money still to be had! Smaller native industries to be bankrupted! Key infrastructure to be privatized! What kind of a half-hearted bust-out scheme are they running?!

Did they grow a conscience, maybe?

Well, I don’t think like a capitalist, so maybe I’m not seeing the bigger picture.

However, the Eurozone-speed group will almost certainly put up tariffs against the non-Eurozone speed members, and the latter will lose time after time.

How can they compete economically in a two-speed system when they were already behind during the time of single-EU unity?

The countries which didn’t adopt the Euro will band together, and you’ll basically have Western Europe versus Central Europe, economically. Capitalism is “the biggest corporation wins, not the best”, of course, and Western Europe has many more huge corporations set to dominate.

Also, the EU is currently in a crisis – why would the weaker EU countries even want to renegotiate the structure of the EU right now?

They are worse off than anyone else in the bloc, so they have even less pull than usual, therefore the solution can only entrench the current state of increased inequality.

So, given that it looks so bad for the lower gear of 2-speed Europe, why will Central Europe even stay in the European Union? They won’t, and the EU will ultimately disintegrate.

This is exactly what the Visegrad Group – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – said in a response to Juncker’s proposal.

This is the path I foresee for the EU: Slow, painful, and the current winners will remain winners because that’s capitalism, which lacks the multinational solidarity of communism.

Frankly, Central Europe would do much better to join up with Russia, Iran and China and become the easternmost point of China’s “One Belt, One Road” program, which is going to be the new McDonald’s.

Another option: A zero-speed Europe

Why go through this slow, painful, inevitable process I just described?

There is another option: a zero-speed Europe.

That is what will happen if Marine Le Pen wins (though I prefer Jean-Luc Melenchon, of course), as France has historically been the biggest advocate of a unified Europe – lose France, and Europe goes down.

Why choose an inherently elitist 2-speed solution – how is entrenching inequality any form of progress?

The EU would do better to bring a total halt to the project in order to debate and make totally new changes. A “2nd Federal Republic of Europe” or something like that. It should be communist, of course.

The biggest obstacle is changing the idea that a total halt is equivalent to death.

This is true firstly on the most-simple literal level: pro-EU propagandists say that the death of the European Union means the return of European war.

This type of logic is not logic at all, as it based on the ultimate fear: massive death. We deserve better than that; we should think more of ourselves than that.

So why must a halt to the European Union mean the end of the concept of a united Europe?

Is THIS version of a united Europe the only possible version?

Must it continue because it has lasted 60 years and it must last another 60, or another 160?

A resounding “No” is the only logical answer to all of these. There IS an alternative.

Monetary systems and political unions come and go, and this crazy blue marble keeps on spinning, and mankind keeps advancing in knowledge just the same.

If the system is not working, why not replace it? Why try to patch up a clearly-flawed system?

The world has changed drastically in the last 30 years, the rise of computers and digital finance being two sweeping societal changes – why not start fresh with a new system that confines the vast powers of these two behemoths? That’s just a start.

Must we continue with the new lack of limits on the spying powers of national governments? With the neoliberal ideas that have gutted European industry and its social safety net?

The European Union can be entirely remade – that IS a real alternative.

It would be a true revolution which sweeps away a dead, undemocratic and structurally unworkable version.

Detractors will say that there is not a clear plan, but neither is there a clear plan for this version of the EU’s future!

The difference is: we are actually talking about and working on the latter instead of the former. This is the same rationale intelligently used by environmentalists: “Well of course renewable energies aren’t as good as nuclear, oil or coal yet – we put all of our funding and R&D into those three options!”

The European Union can, should and must be reborn if it is going to start ending economic inequality and start promoting true unity, solidarity and mutually-beneficial cooperation.

A new European Union must reject what has clearly failed and what has been rejected: neoliberalism and capitalism.

A return to socialism is the only logical choice – history’s pendulum can only swing this way for Europe.

People need to grasp – and they don’t, and the mainstream media purposely obscures it – just how far to the right we currently are economically: Neoliberalism, European austerity, Trump’s domestic economic agenda – we cannot get much more unregulated and thus more unequal.

But working within the current structure of the EU is not going to work.

No one knows what a “multi-speed Europe” option will even look like, but for many it seems like: institutionalized 2nd-class citizenry for Central Europe; the cementing of the neo-imperial looting of countries like Greece; the cementing of right-wing roll backs to social rights and living standards in countries like France.

It’s been a historic fortnight. In another fortnight we’ll see what the aristocratic leaders of the European Union actually propose. On March 25th “two-speed Europe” is going to get very real!

More interestingly and more importantly, we’ll see what democratic votes in France and the Netherlands produce. In an intelligent world it would be more communism, but sometimes people just have to hit bottom before they turn themselves around.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

%d bloggers like this: